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The Practitioner's Guide to Governance as Leadership: Building High-Performing Nonprofit Boards

ISBN: 978-1-118-10987-8
272 pages
December 2012, Jossey-Bass
The Practitioner

Praise for The Practitioner's Guide to Governance as Leadership

"With wisdom and insight, Trower has written the seminal guide for nonprofit boards. This is a must-read for every current and incoming nonprofit board member."
Joel Allison, president and CEO, Baylor Health Care System

"For nonprofit chief executives who are ready for more engaged and purposeful boards and for board members who want to work more meaningfully and be true partners in leadership, Trower shows the way. She brings Governance as Leadership to life with case studies, theoretical frameworks, board exercises, and practical advice."
Susan Whealler Johnston, executive vice president, Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB)

"It has never been more critical than it is today for nonprofits to engage their boards in ways that capture the full talent, experience and resources of those who govern the work.?Yet, too often, we see organizations facing a substantial board-engagement gap.?In this book, Trower shares the pathway forward for nonprofit and philanthropic leaders seeking to transform their boards in ways that will have an exponential impact on everything from strategy to fundraising. I've learned much from Trower's work on board leadership over the years—I'm thrilled she's now sharing it broadly through this valuable new resource for our sector."
Robert B. Acton, executive director NY, Taproot Foundation

"At BoardSource, we value Governance as Leadership as a groundbreaking publication that has helped thousands of board leaders view governance in a new way. With this new book, Trower has taken on the important task of connecting the dots back to the boardroom, where nonprofits of all sizes are struggling with leading their organizations through these challenging times ... she deftly combines business, psychological, and sociological principles to help board members examine their own thought processes and raise the level of thinking and discourse in the boardroom."
Linda C. Crompton, president and CEO, BoardSource

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List of Exhibits, Figures, and Tables xiii

Foreword xvii
by Richard Chait

Preface xxi

CHAPTER 1: THE GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP MODEL 1

Premises 2

Underlying Assumptions 2

Governance Reform 3

The Three Modes or Mental Maps 4

Why Three Modes? 14

CHAPTER 2: GETTING STARTED AND GAINING TRACTION WITH GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP 21

What Is Optimized at Board Meetings? 22

What Is Different about Generative Governance? 22

Moving to Higher Purpose and Optimizing Performance:

Beginning the Conversation 23

Moving to Higher Purpose and Optimizing Performance: Getting Started 26

Moving to Higher Purpose and Optimizing Performance: Getting Traction 33

CHAPTER 3: ENCOURAGING CRITICAL THINKING IN THE BOARDROOM 47

Critical Thinking and Metacognition 48

Getting on the Balcony 50

Ways of Thinking 51

Impediments to Critical Thinking 54

Cognitive Biases and Board Workarounds 62

Social Loafing 70

Groupthink 71

Avoiding Groupthink and Its Close Cousins 77

CHAPTER 4: TURNING YOUR BOARD INTO A HIGH-PERFORMING TEAM 85

Social Systems 86

Groups and Teams 87

Boards as Teams 89

Effective Board Teams in the Context of Governance as Leadership 91

CHAPTER 5: CREATING A GOVERNANCE-AS-LEADERSHIP CULTURE 125

Culture 126

Three Toxic Cultures 128

Culture Change 131

Culture Conducive to Governance as Leadership 132

Tools to Support a “Governance as Leadership–Friendly” Culture 143

CHAPTER 6: WHAT GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP REQUIRES OF LEADERS 169

Leadership 170

CHAPTER 7: MEASURING AND SUSTAINING GOVERNANCE AS LEADERSHIP 187

Measuring Board Performance 188

Sustaining Governance as Leadership 211

EPILOGUE 215

REFERENCES 217

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 221

THE AUTHOR 227

BOARDSOURCE 229

INDEX 231

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Cathy A. Trower, PhD is a senior research associate at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education. She is author of the second edition of Richard Chait's book, Govern More, Manage Less. Cathy is nationally known for her expertise on board policies, leadership, structure, organizational change, best governance practices, and strategic planning. She is in high demand as a speaker, consultant, and advisor and works with nonprofit boards independently through her consulting firm, Trower and Trower, Inc.

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